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Lawns, paths and wildflowers

 
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We have a lovely spot under an oak tree that is currently covered in weed matting and weeds. I want to create a perennial wildflower meadow beneath it, but with paths and a small open area. I can find advice on introducing a wildflower meadow wholesale or a lawn wholesale - but there doesn't seem to be much information around about a combination of paths, wildflowers and open areas. I wondered if anyone has done this and could answer a few questions:

- I am assuming that the paths would have to be sown very differently to the wildflowers? I cannot find any information on this, but I assume a wildflower meadow, cut short, would not tolerate high foot traffic.
- If the above is right, would it be advisable to move or introduce topsoil to the paths, essentially going to all the effort traditionally associated with creating a regular lawn?
- As I want a clearing too, that I would guess must be treated as the paths, with different soil and different seeds?
- Finally, and again assuming my thinking here is right, how does one maintain grasses up to foot traffic, stopping them from overtaking the wildflowers right next door over a few years? I am very happy running through with a scythe once a year for mowing the meadow and keeping on top of the paths a little more, but I do not want to make this an arduous task.

The area in total is about 200sqm, but about 70% would be wildflowers.

Any advice appreciated.
 
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Go for woodchips instead of grass for the paths? I'm assuming that there is a lot of shade under the tree which may limit your choice of plants both for plants and for the wildflowers, if there is good light and you don't walk on the paths to often you could look at thyme or camomile or even clover (though it will spread and be a thug)
 
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Skandi has the right idea in my mind.  I would figure out where I wanted the flowers and make paths of wood chips or sawdust.  Wood chips are better for creating good soil long term, but sawdust will work too.  Either will keep the weeds out if you put them down thick enough.  I don't know of any ground covers that can handle much walking.
 
Mj Lacey
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Trace Oswald wrote:Skandi has the right idea in my mind.  I would figure out where I wanted the flowers and make paths of wood chips or sawdust.  Wood chips are better for creating good soil long term, but sawdust will work too.  Either will keep the weeds out if you put them down thick enough.  I don't know of any ground covers that can handle much walking.



Sorry, I didn't make clear my plan. These are not main paths in the way they are elsewhere - the whole meadow area (not large) is just really for pollinators and critters; the only access is for viewing, or scything once a year. The clearing would always be in one place: which is not solved by woodchip really.

Also, where I live, woodchip is incredibly hard to get without paying for it. I need something that I can manage over time.
 
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While I have never grown creeping thyme, I would love to.  Would it work for your path area?

I also have a lot of Blue Pimpernel, Anagallis Monellii that would be good for paths:

https://permies.com/t/157111/Living-Mulch-Mediterranean-Food-Forest#1231678

What I vision for what you want to do is a circle around the tree with the paths like the spokes on a wheel or do you vision something different?
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